« EelmineJätka »
are moved towards the particles of falt, and joined with them. And when we behold vulgar falt not to flow per deliquium, may we not conclude that the same law of nature and motion doth not obtain between its particles and those of the floating vapours ? A drop of water assumes a round figure, because its parts are moved towards each other. But the particles of oil and vinegar have no such disposition to unite. And when Aies walk in water without wetting their feet, it is attributed to a repelling force or faculty in the Ay's feet. But this is obscure, though the phænomenon be plain.
236. It is not improbable, and seems not unsupported by experiments, that, as in algebra, where positive quantities cease there negative begin, even so in mechanics, where attracting forces cease there repelling forces begin ; or (to express it more properly) where bodies cease to be moved towards, they begin to be moved from each other. This Sir Isaac Newton infers from the production of air and vapours, whose particles fly asunder with such vehement force. We behold iron move towards the loadstone, straws towards amber, heavy bodies towards the earth. The laws of these motions are various. And when it is said, that all the motions and changes in the great world arise from attraction; the elasticity of the air, the motion of water, the descent of heavy, and the ascent of light bodies, being all ascribed to the same principle; when from insensible attractions of most minute particles at the smallest distance are derived cohesion, disfolution, coagulation, animal secretion, fermentation, and all chemical operations ; and when it is said, that without such principles there never would have been any motion in the world, and without
the continuance thereof all motion would cease. In all this we know or understand ro more, than that bodies are moved according to a certain order, and that they do not move themselves.
237. So likewise, how to explain all those various motions and effects by the density and elasticity of æther, seems incomprehensible (c). For instance, why should the acid particles draw those of water and repell each other? why should some salts attract vapours in the air, and others not ? why should the particles of common falt repell each other, so as not to subside in water ? why should the most repellent particles be the most attractive upon contact ? Or why should the repellent begin where the attractive faculty leaves off. These, and numberless other effects teem inexplicable on mechanical principles, or otherwise than by recourse to a mind or fpiritual agent (b). Nor will ic fuffice from present phænomena and effects, through a chain of natural causes and subordinate blind agents, to trace a divine intellect as the remote original cause, that first created the world, and then set it a going. We cannot make even one single step in accounting for the phænomena, without admitting the immediate presence and immediate action of an incorporeal agent, who connects, moves, and dispofes all things, according to such rules, and for such purposes as seem good to him.
238. It is an old opinion adopted by the moderns, that the elements and other natural bodies are changed each into other (c). Now, as the particles of different bodies are agitated by different forces, attracting and repelling, or, to speak more accurately, are moved by different laws, how can these forces
(m) 153, 162.
(6) 154, 220.
or laws be changed, and this change accounted for by an elastic æther? Such a medium, diftinct from light or fire, seemeth not to be made out by any proof, nor to be of any use in explaining the phænomena. But if there be any medium employed as a subordinate cause or instrument in attraction, it would rather seem to be light (k); since by an experiment of Mr. Boyle, amber, that shewed no sign of attraction in the shade, being placed where the sun-beams shone upon it, immediately attracted light bodies. Besides, it hath been discovered by Sir Isaac Newton, and an admirable discovery it was, that light is an heterogeneous medium (1) consisting of particles endued with original distinct properties. And upon these, if I may venture to give my conjectures, it seemeth probable the specific properties of bodies, and the force of specific medicines may depend. Different sides of the same ray shall, one approach and the other recede from the INandic crystal; can this be accounted for by the elasticity of a fine medium, or by the general laws of motion, or by any mechanical principles whatever? And if not, what should hinder but there may be specific medicines, whose operation depends not upon mechanical principles, how much soever that notion hath been exploded of late years?
239. Why may we not suppose certain idiofyncrasies, sympathies, oppositions, in the solids or Auids or animal spirit of a human body, with regard to the fine insensible parts of minerals or vegetables, impregnated by rays of light of different properties, not depending on the different size, figure, number, solidity, or weight of those particles,
(A) 152, 156.
(1) 40, 1811 P
hor on the general laws of motion, nor on the denifity or elasticity of a medium, but merely and altogether on the good pleasure of the Creator, in the original formation of things? From whence divers unaccountable and unforeseen motions may arise in the animal oeconomy; from whence also various peculiar and specific virtues may be conceived to arise, residing in certain medicines, and not to be explained by mechanical principles. For although the general known laws of motion are to be deemed mechanical, yet peculiar motions of the insensible parts, and peculiar properties depending thereon, are occult and specific.
240. The words attraction and repulsion may, in compliance with custom, be used where, accurately speaking, motion alone is meant. And in that fense it may be said, that peculiar attractions or repulsions in the parts, are attended with specific properties in the wholes. The particles of light are vehemently moved to or from, retained or rejected by objects. Which is the same thing as to say with Sir Isaac Newton, that the particles of acids are endųed with great attractive force (m), wherein their activity consists; whence fermentation and diffolution; and that the most repellent are, upon contact, the most attracting particles.
241. Gravity and fermentation are received for two most extensive principles. "From fermentation are derived the motion and warmth of the heart and blood in animals, subterraneous heat, fires, and earthquakes, meteors and changes in the atmosphere. And, that attracting and repelling forces operate in the nutrition and diffolution of animal and vegetable bodies, is the doctrine both of Hip
pocrates and Sir Isaac Newton. The former of these celebrated authors, in his treatise concerning diet or regimen, observes, that in the nourishment of man, one part repells and another attracts. And again, in the fame treatise, two carpenters, faith he, saw a piece of timber; one draws, the other pushes; these two actions tend to one and the same end, though in a contrary direction, one up, the other down: This imitates the nature of man: πνεύμα το μεν έλκει, το δε ώθέει.
. 242. It is the general maxim of Hippocrates, that the manner wherein nature acts consisteth in attracting what is meet and good, and in repelling what is disagreeable or hurtful. He makes the whole of the animal economy to be administered by the faculties or powers of nature. Nature alone, faith he, fufficeth for all things to animals. She knows of herself what is necessary for them. Whence it is plain, he means a conscious intelligent nature, that presides and moves the ætherial spirit. And tho' he declares all things are accomplished on man by necessity, yet it is not a blind fate or chain of mere corporeal causes, but a divine necessity, as he himself exprelly calls it. And what is this but an over-ruling intelligent power that disposeth of all things?
243. Attraction cannot produce, and in that fenle account for the phænomena, being itself one of the phænomena produced and to be accounted for (n). Attraction is performed by different laws, and cannot therefore in all cafes be the effect of the elasticity of one uniform medium. The phænomena of electrical bodies, the laws and variations of magnetism, and, not to mention other kinds, even
(n) 160, 235.